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Publisher: Music Minus One$12.66
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-04
- Reviewer: Staff
The hip-hop musical Hamilton: The Revolution has earned its own biography, which highlights the obstacles, influences, and powerful moments from its development to its Broadway success. McCarter narrates the introduction (which he wrote), and one can hear the excitement and enthusiasm he still has for both the musical and his work with Miranda. Actress Hargitay, longtime star of NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, covers the lion’s share of this performance, and she does an astounding job. She captures the energy and enthusiasm of the various people quoted throughout the book, while capturing the emphasis and tone to draw out some of the more emotional moments. Miranda chimes in for the last hour, reading—and at times singing—footnotes on the libretto, without the actual context of the script, which will be confusing for listeners who do not have the print book to follow along. A Grand Central hardcover. (May)
Audio: Exemplary audio gifts
Yes, Commonwealth, Ann Patchett’s brilliant new novel, narrated by Hope Davis, is autobiographical. But it’s her fabulous, fluent storytelling, her understanding of family in all its cumbersome complexity and delicately nuanced affections and animosities that makes this group portrait so appealing. It all begins with a gin-soaked kiss at a christening party in 1960s Los Angeles that leads to divorce, a cross-country move and a blended but never homogenized family forced into intimacies that shift over the decades.
With clarity, smooth prose and a new cache of documents, Jeffrey Toobin tells the still-tantalizing tale that mesmerized a nation in the 1970s in American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. It’s all here, set in context: how a captive became a bank-robbing comrade, how the jailed Patty became a Hearst again. All read with perfect pacing by Paul Michael.
On June 22, 1922, Count Alexander Rostov appeared before a Bolshevik Tribunal, accused of succumbing “to the corruption of his class.” Only his high-ranking friends kept him from being summarily shot. Instead, the handsome, gracious young count became a “Former Person,” sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Moscow’s famed Hotel Metropole. It’s the next 40 years of that life that Amor Towles so skillfully evokes in his quintessentially charming second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, read with impeccable Rostov grace by Nicholas Guy Smith.
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: The Revolution is an irresistibly moving, revelatory account of the hottest, most heralded Broadway show in a generation. McCarter was in meetings, workshops and dressing rooms during the six years of the play’s development, and he talked with more than 40 people close to the show. He details Miranda’s constant rewriting and reshaping and shows how people from different backgrounds came together to make this stunningly audacious show work so wonderfully. Miranda reads the 300 funny footnotes he added to the libretto (on an accompanying PDF, which includes fabulous photos).
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
With mastery worthy of Rembrandt, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Dominic Smith’s fourth novel, moves back and forth in time and place from 1631 Amsterdam when Sara de Vos painted her hauntingly beautiful “At the Edge of the Wood,” to 1957 New York when it was stolen from Marty de Groot’s Fifth Avenue penthouse and replaced by a flawless forgery. In 2000, the forger, Ellie Shipley, is in Sydney, Australia. She’s now a renowned expert on women painters of the Dutch Golden Age, awaiting the authentic de Vos painting and the forgery she made decades ago to arrive for an exhibition. Engrossing audio, elegantly wrought, elegantly read by Edoardo Ballerini.